Running Time: 91 mins
Rated: Rated M (moderate sexual references and coarse language)
For most audiences, all they need to know is that this is a Will Ferrell film. Either you love him or loathe him. This one is in the line of Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory. The difference is that Semi-Pro is based on actual events and characters (more than I would have guessed while watching the film making me quite surprised as I read of the history of the basketball league troubles and changes of the 1970s). And, this makes the film that much more serious than the other Ferrell comedies.
The comedy is a bit light on here though Ferrell mugs a great deal as usual, some of the humour very funny, much of it raunchy and much of it rather strained. The film turns into one of those sports underdog movies. Will they win, will they win at the last moment, will there be final crises and tensions, who will throw the winning basket?
This also means that it helps a lot to be something of a basketball fan, otherwise the mood and the ethos seem a bit distant - which emphasises that Semi-Pro is designed for US audiences and not really beyond American shores.
Semi-Pro is really for the Will Ferrell completist.
Village Roadshow Out April 3
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting